To avoid potential shortage in funding support especially for modular learning, a group is pushing for budget flexibility for agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd) which would enable the agency to respond to the needs of students and avoid further disruption in basic education.
Aral Pilipinas, a group of education practitioners, parents, students, and development workers who advocate for the continuity of education in times of crises, is advocating flexibility as a part of the considerations in the DepEd’s 2021 budget.
The group has expressed support for budget flexibility for blended learning modalities and as a technical paper on the budget requirements for modular learning modality which is the “preferred modality” of majority of the enrollees in the public school sector this upcoming school year.
Echoing DepEd’s call that “education cannot wait,” Aral Pilipinas expressed solidarity with all the Filipino learners, teachers, parents, and the entire Philippine education sector by strongly supporting the blended learning modality of the DepEd and the opening of classes on Oct. 5.
Aral Pilipinas underscored the need to invest in human capital which is pivotal to the country’s recovery and long term development.
“We should not allow education to be further disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the group said. “The challenge of safeguarding the right of every Filipino child to stay in school is on all of us,” it added.
Aral Pilipinas noted that basic education under the so-called “new normal” requires various learning modalities and approaches. “We must work together to ensure learning continuity while guaranteeing the safety of our learners, teachers, and their families,” it explained.
The group explained that basic education under the new normal puts high demand for module based learning. Citing government data, Aral Pilipinas said that “close to half of the learners in the upcoming school year indicate they prefer the use of modules.”
While printed modules enable accessibility of education for Filipino learners in a pandemic situation, the group noted that “this comes with a multitude of challenges, particularly in terms of production and reproduction costs, as well as logistics to ensure that the modules will reach the learners.”
For Aral Pilipinas, basic education under the new normal demands that “we actively seek new ways” to meet the technical, financial, and logistical requirements of DepEd’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP).
It called on the government — including members of Congress — to provide budgetary flexibility for basic education to effectively implement a BE-LCP that is “responsive to the context and needs” of students and teachers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.